While southern states do not typically experience the same harsh winters as their northern counterparts, temperatures can often fall below 40°F in the South during the winter months (though cold does not typically last, and snow is rare). Southern winters create a unique challenge for local construction professionals who may not be prepared or are unaware of the considerations required to perform roofing operations when temperatures dip low during colder months.
Most roofing materials are not designed for cold weather installation. Many manufacturers specify that their products (particularly adhesives and sealants) should not be installed when temperatures fall below 40°F. Additionally, products are typically specified to be stored within a specific “warm” range prior to use. If products are not used in accordance to their specifications, they could potentially not perform as designed and even void the manufacturer’s warranty.
Single-ply membrane considerations during cold weather applications:
- Rolls of membrane become less elastic, and therefore require extra time to visually “relax” prior to installation.
- Condensation and frost formation can occur on the back side of the membrane.
- Blistering and rigid wrinkles could more readily form.
- Poor or false welds could occur during installation. Welding seams and laps should be performed slower and with extra care. Also, more weld tests should be performed, especially in the mornings and after long breaks, to gage the mating surface integrity.
- Many manufacturers recommend membranes be stored in heated areas and brought to the roof just prior to installation.
Precautions to consider when installing single-ply membranes in cold weather include the attachment method of the roof membrane to the underlaying roof system substrate (i.e. rigid insulation, gypsum coverboard, bare concrete, etc.). For lightweight insulating concrete (LWIC) decks, fully-adhering the roof membrane with a water-based adhesive is frequently the most used attachment method. Water-based adhesives are favored over other types because of their low VOC, ease of clean up, ability to spread, and versatility. However, because they are water-based, temperature considerations are important for the roof system’s long-term performance.
Water-based adhesive considerations for colder weather applications include the following:
- Longer cure time required for temperatures less than 40°F (as well as highly humid conditions). Most manufacturers specify for their adhesives to be applied only when temperatures are 40°F and rising, and the humidity is less than 90%. Cures can have a potential duration of two-to three days, which can be affected by freezing temperatures.
- Manufacturers typically specify that their products be stored at temperatures from 60-80°F, necessitating the need for a “hot box” on the roof or staging area.
- If adhesives and sealants do freeze, they will remain in the solid state even when warmed. The materials should be discarded and not attempted to be salvaged by mixing or reconstituting.
- Adhesives and sealants typically should not be used when the ambient temperature is expected to fall below the dew point during application, and up to six hours after, and if the forecast includes freezing temperatures within 48 hours of application.
- Shipments of water-based adhesives may be limited to certain geographic locations in colder weather months.
- Condensation on the surface of the adhesive will impact adhesion to the substrate.
- Application of adhesives should be scheduled near midday, when temperatures are their highest.
- The substrate being adhered should also be at 40 degrees Fahrenheit and rising.
- As construction may have stockpiles of water-based adhesive in their shops, confirmation from the manufacturer’s local representative should be provided for the acceptance of their product’s application on a project during forecasted cold spells.
More From Our Blog:
Timing is everything. Investing in preventative maintenance methods while bituminous/asphalt pavement is still in good condition can save money over the life of the pavement. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)...read more
Are you experiencing problems with your exterior walls, such as damp or stained interior finishes or mold? Are the occupants of your building reporting thermal discomfort in occupied spaces adjacent to exterior walls? Are your building’s energy costs...read more
To mitigate runway/taxiway and apron wear caused by heavy use and climate conditions on these long stretches of asphalt, effective regular maintenance is the key to keeping runways safe. Therefore, finding the right pavement treatment process is essential....read more
Athletic lighting can increase a school or municipality’s ability to use and play on their fields at night, which is a benefit to athletes and communities. It can double or perhaps even triple a field’s scheduled uses, provided that the turf system can...read more
Artificial turf is appearing on more and more airfields across the globe. Reasons for its use are varied and sometimes unexpected:Eliminates mowing in certain areasMakes areas of an airfield more visibleNeutralizes Foreign Object and Debris (FOD) on...read more
Gilding is a decorative technique that adds beauty and protection to any building element by applying fine gold or powder to solid surfaces such as wood, stone, glass or metal, to create a lustrous and grand look. Gilding has been widely used as early as...read more
Vegetation management is required at virtually all airports. Overgrown vegetation can cause a variety of problems including:Provides habitats for wildlife, which in turn creates hazards to aircraft operationsTall grass can obstruct airport lighting and...read more
What is LEED Neighborhood Development?LEED Neighborhood Development (LEED ND) is the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) newest sector of project certification. LEED ND was created to motivate architects, engineers and planners to help create more...read more
Undertaking an athletic field construction project requires thorough research to choose the playing surface for the field that best aligns with the athletic program’s goals and budgets. When considering the construction of a competition level athletic...read more
Woodpeckers can wreak havoc on building enclosures. Found across the globe, woodpeckers traditionally peck holes into trees to find food, make nests, and communicate. However, woodpeckers and other pecking birds, such as flickers, can mistake Exterior...read more